This weekend’s first of seven Super Sprint MotorSport New Zealand Championship events for the 2023 to 2024 summer motor race season launches at the Taupō International Motorsport Park where six categories compete for a fresh chance of title glory.
New Zealand’s premier level of competition, the Super Sprint season, begins with the first of two and back-to-back visits to Taupō.
Headlined this weekend by the championship classes of Toyota 86 and Summerset GT New Zealand, the series returns in the New Year with the Castrol Toyota Formula Regional Oceania Championship (CTFROC) single-seater cars. A five-round championship, it features mostly international drivers forging a path to higher levels of the sport.
Entering its 11th season, the popular Toyota 86 Championship boasts an entry list of 24 mostly new drivers. The grid will include a number of young drivers including 16-year-old Gold Coast-based Alice Buckley – one of four women racers entered in this season’s championship.
Last season’s Toyota 86 Champion Brock Gilchrist returns but to a different series. The 20-year-old will now race a McLaren GT4 as part of the Giltrap Motorsport Junior Scholarship in the Summerset GT New Zealand category. Home to the latest specification factory-built cars, this season’s entry list includes four brand-new Porsche 911 series 992 cars.
Series Managing Director Brendon White says the new season is refining what has worked to enable delivering an even more entertaining package.
“That both Toyota and GT New Zealand have more, and new cars is what makes the new season even more exciting. With that comes new drivers – talent we’ve not seen before, along with names we know and wonder how they will measure up. This mix will create a competitive environment that will challenge all of the drivers,” he said.
“Everyone is talking about the TA2 V8s and how popular they are becoming – add the other V8 cars and you’ve got an entertaining package. That will make for an even better-televised product that better showcases our sport and returns even higher exposure to our sponsors and backers.
“This weekend’s round at Taupō is also a great warm-up for our return in the New Year with the Historic GP event.”
Along with the 27 cars in the Super V8 field the weekend schedule includes the TradeZone GTRNZ series, which is divided into two groups, as well as the Pirelli Porsche and Nexen Tyre NZ Mazda Racing Series.
Action starts on Friday with each category getting repeat practice sessions. Each group has qualifying on Saturday morning with a first race in the afternoon which will be livestreamed.
Sunday is live on television from 9.30 am on Sky Sports in New Zealand and Fox Sports Australia. Each category has a race in the morning and in the afternoon.
While long-range weather for the weekend looks to have short periods of rain, the forecast mild spring temperatures make it ideal for spectating and racing.
Fans can meet the drivers during the weekend, while tickets can be purchased online from $20 at Ticket Fairy.